Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Sides of a Thin Coin

Freedom of speech.
Political correctness.

Two phrases we all have heard.  Maybe they are two phrases we love to hate... or hate to love.  We use these phrases like we have a right to pass judgement on anyone who speaks their mind, like we have any right to.  What do these phrases really mean?  I tend to believe they are opposites.  But not really.  There is actually a very fine line that separate the two.  Let me delve into my perception of definition of these "words of wisdom".

Freedom of Speech:

Wikipedia defines Freedom of Speech as:  the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".

We have all heard (and repeated) "What happened to Freedom of Speech?"

Now, let's take a look at the Wiki Definition of Political Correctness...

Political Correctness:  a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent. In current usage, the term is primarily pejorative,while the term politically incorrect has been used as an implicitly positive self-description. Examples of the latter include the conservative The Politically Incorrect Guide published by Regnery Publishing and the television talk showPolitically Incorrect. In these cases, the term politically incorrect connotes language, ideas, and behavior unconstrained by a perceived orthodoxy or by concerns about offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people.

So.... my question begins with how can one speak their mind and then be driven into solace with accusatory statements regarding political correctness?  If one speaks their mind... voices their opinion, and someone (anyone) takes offense to it, who's fault is that?  Is it the speaker, themselves, who is to blame for someone else being overly sensitive to a remark that wasn't directed towards a particular individual?  

We have an OPINION page in our local newspaper, in USA today, in my own beloved Leaven...  how can one person who isn't nearly as influencial as the writers for those columns be beaten down because of them voicing THEIR opinion?  Again, who are WE to judge anyone?  My faith tells me, in my heart, that WE must learn NOT to judge.

My friend, someone who has been very important to my growth as a human being and a faithful follower of Christ, has many obstacles surrounding her that she must defend on nearly a daily basis.  This is simply because she was called to serve our greater power.  She has defended her children MANY times, she has been a significant cog in a wheel of change for, not only our community, but our country.  She has suffered loss, a loss that a mother must crawl out of the depths of the quicksands of dispair to carry on.  She has grown, as we all hope we would, into a light for our world.  An inspiration to make the world a better place. However, in this journey, her strength she has found as a voice for some who choose not to speak, because it may ruffle feathers.  She has been called upon to be that voice and make a change for things that aren't right.  But, when this dear friend gets admonished for her thoughts, for her written words.... it makes me sad.  She has never once named names, or spoken in defamatory ways.  She simply questions the way somethings are done.  She has been an advocate for her children, and been torn down for it.  The minute someone tears me down for being an advocate for MY children will be a day that I hope they never forget.  

When someone finds their strength, through an outlet such as a blog, or facebook even... and then that strength is stripped away because someone felt it wasn't "politically correct", how is that fair?  Maybe this person hasn't ever known the strength to speak their mind before.  Myabe, through technology, it's made this strength possible.  I know I always speak better through the written word than the spoken word, so possibly this is the strength this person needs to move on from the hurt or the anger or the confusion.  Those of us who enjoy her written word applaud her voice, we celebrate her hunger for understanding of this PC world.  I, for one, share her appreciation for our PC world, but not at the expense of freedom of speech.  When you live a life that is not shared by others, you DO see the terms that hurt.  Those phrases, that others let spill from their mouths before they actually think about what they are saying or who they are saying them too.  But I have learned to not be overly sensitive, because I do believe that the majority of the human race IS good natured.  I believe that most of us DO care if we hurt others by our words.  I believe that some of us stay awake at night going through the days events in our heads, wondering if we could have said something different, wondered if that look on that person's face reflected our specific actions or words, wondered if we could have done anything different to make the day or that specific interaction different.  My goals at the end of the day are two things:  1)  Make sure my children and my husband know I love them more than anything in the world.  2)  Hope I made a difference in someone's life.  

We are all put here for a purpose.  I sincerely believe we all put here to experience diversity and learn from it, and counsel others through it.  We learn from our experiences, we all bear our crosses... we have all been given the strength to endure and prosper.  It's up to us to accept that gift.  It's up to us to recognize our deficiencies as humans, and learn from them.  It's our duty to share our gift with others.

My friend, you have taught me so much.  I am distraught at the thought that you lost your mojo.  I hope that I can be one of many who rekindle that flame.  Do NOT be ashamed of who you are or what you say.  Keep writing, you said it yourself you have been partner to change because of your voice.  Being a strong woman does not mean you are a bitch, it's setting an example for those of us who strive to find that strength.  

Ending thought:

Being Politically Correct should not interfere with our Freedom of Speech.  Obviously, there is a line that can be crossed and then I feel fully entiled to judge.  (I'll confess about that later)  Some people just don't have a filter and maybe they actually intend to hurt feelings, but I strive to surround myself with those who do care and who do try to be sensitive... without being fake.

Monday, August 13, 2012

God Keeps Taking Care of US

You know, when I was younger (much younger), I didn't really see God in everyday life.  Maybe, possibly, I didn't choose to.  Or maybe, possibly, I just overlooked it and saw something else.  Honestly, it wasn't until nearly 4 1/2 years ago, that I really REALLY saw his works.  Sometimes, you just need a smack upside the head for you to accept that it truly is a greater power that answers your prayers.

This glorious smack has happened more than a few times since Nate was born and since the tragic day he got sick.  No matter how horrible that time was, how incredibly unfair it was for our perfectly healthy baby boy could be ripped from our lives and replaced by a baby I had no idea how to care for or even know to love, I can look back now and see that we were given a path that is NOT paved, NOT easy, NOT visible from the main road....

I would NEVER choose another path.

Nate was delivered to us, in a way that seems so harsh, but has been so amazing at every turn.  We are blessed with the most perfect Nathan Matthew that could be.  He's a happy boy, you can tell he knows how very much he is loved by his family.  He lights up at just the right moments to make your day better.  He's funny in his little way, that is typically narrated by us to tell a story.  He's so strong, without even having to try.  The little milestones that seem so small for a regular kiddo, are HUGE moments that make me cry.  To see the moment when he looks right at me and I know he knows I'm his biggest fan.  He is a shining light that we are so lucky to share with the world, and I couldn't be prouder that God chose us to be Nate's mommy and daddy.

Let's get back to this "smack" I started talking about.

I had a new client call me last week to set up an appointment, I scheduled her for a trim today.  When she arrived, she graciously informed me that she was NOT there for a haircut.  This woman told me that she had bacterial meningitis 5 years ago, and lost both of her legs due to the sickness.  She could not afford the prosthetic legs, so her wonderful friends and family held a fundraiser in the form of a 1 mile or 5K walk called "Maggi's Walk".  They raised enough money to get her legs, but have kept up the non-profit organization to raise awareness of meningitis and support the victims.  She told me she saw our story in the Her Life magazine from January and knew she wanted to help us.  So, here she stood in front of me offering any financial help she could for us because of the "pay it forward" opportunity she saw in her own circumstances.  We just purchased a "Kid Walk" for Nate and the out of pocket expense was not something we could afford without making payments for a while.  This woman told us she would love to take care of it.

BAM!!!!  THAT is the smack.... smack DOWN!

It's moments like these that I can't help but giggle at how obvious God is in our lives!  Unfortunately, there are a LOT of people who never get to see it.  But he did it!  He answered our question about how we were going to pay for this kid walk.  He did it back in December when we were willing and ready to go into debt to make our house handicapped accessible for our little Nate who was only getting bigger, then BAM!!! Our dilemma was taken care of by my beautiful friends at Double Take with the charity they did to benefit US!  Even our very first fundraiser, he led the way for our family and friends to organize Nate Day at the Race Track!  I have no idea where we would be without all the incredible support we are so blessed to have in our lives!  Everything we have done, we would have done regardless of if we could afford it or not, but God helped us out.

I honestly believe everything happens for a reason, for Maggi, her tragic story has a happy ending... she gets to help out those who need it just like she did.  I hope that we are led to a place where we get to help as well, and for once NOT be the one's who need the help.  I am conscious of that, and I make sure that anytime I feel strongly to contribute to a cause in any way, I do SOMETHING. Even if it's not much, every little bit makes a difference and maybe the difference isn't noticed by others.  Maybe you are the only one who sees it, but it's there.

My advice is to see those moments when you are being lifted up, as not just luck.  Not just circumstance.  But it is SOMEONE taking care of you.

For more info on "Maggi's Walk" go to

The Walk this year is Sept 8 in Prairie Village, KS.  I will be there with my lovely family and I invite everyone I've ever known to come and participate too for a cause that is very close to my heart!!!

Love, Carolyn

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pay it forward

I believe that human beings by nature are meant to do great things.  It is by choice that some choose otherwise, but it's proven that we are meant for good by our children.  They don't ask, they just love.  Pure, unconditional, hypnotizing love.

One of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed this fact, was when my lil Nater Tot got sick 4 years ago.  The out pouring of generosity we were in the middle of was overwhelming, and awe inspiring and felt completely undeserved.  People came and gave us their time, their prayers, donated flowers and dinners... I still can't believe people thought so much of us to do all that.  Then, my beautiful sister in law made some home made T-shirts with a simple paw print and stenciled "TEAM NATE DOG" on them.  Suddenly, everyone who saw them wanted one.  Our loved ones saw this as an opportunity to help us with our medical expenses, our financial burdens due to loss of work... our future with our new Nate.

Since then, I still have witnessed this fact in the amazing charity my salon organized to help make our home handicap accessible for Nate.  Again, I was shocked and wondrous at the love of giving that helped us in our time of need.

Because of our life situation and the constant support given to our family by loved ones, acquaintances, and even strangers, I've known that "paying it forward" is the ONLY way to be when it comes to helping others.

My friend Carolyn Macan has a little boy who has struggled since birth.  Bo and his sister, Brooklyn, were born 10 weeks early.  They spent quite some time in the NICU.  Bo is meant for great things, but the little guy has had issue after issue medically.  In December of 2011, Bo's family finally received a diagnosis for him of  IPEX. A rare genentic disorder that causes diabetes, growth hormone deficiency, thyroid problems, IGA deficiency, chronic diarrhea ( click on reviews then search IPEX). NOW, Bo needs a bone marrow transplant and of course, the surgery would be far from home in Cincinnati.

My dear friend is just like you or me, and like most people isn't rolling in the dough... so this trip and surgery will be financially back breaking.  BUT, just like you or me, that won't stop her from taking care of her baby.  However, there's the beginning of the fundraising efforts to help pay for the trip.  And I couldn't be happier to help do my part in sharing these efforts!  We all do what we can, which may not be a lot, but ANY little bit helps.

And also, starting today, there are TSHIRTS!!!!  I feel so nostalgic and I want to burst with happiness to get the word out about all this!

All sizes are available for $20 a piece!  I can't wait to get mine and outfit my whole family to show support!  Please, please, please, even if you don't know my friend.... know her story, relate it to your own and help!


Follow their journey, and fall in love...


Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Double Take

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Double Take Family,

I know I hugged and thanked each of you Thursday, but I wanted to send you a special note from me to somehow put into words how grateful I am.

A little over nine years ago, I answered a mailing to come check out Double Take as a new salon opportunity for my career.  I honestly was just thinking of my career and what was best for my family and our life style.  Never... not in a million years... did I think I would be part of such an amazing group of people.  Working here for almost a decade, I have seen many stylists or receptionists go (and thrilled to have some of them come back :), but I really do believe this group is the most beautiful, giving and thoughtful we have EVER had.

When little Nate got sick in May of '08 at four months old, Double Take pooled their resources and donated to help with our medical expenses.  I was unbelievably touched back then and honored to be a part of an incredible family here.  Becky has always taken good care of me, words cannot express how much I love that woman.  I will spend a lifetime giving all that I can back to her.  That does not take away from the rest of you.  For all that you have done and continue to do as wonderful friends and co-workers, I HONOR YOU!  I can't get over this feeling of unworthiness.  You all did this for US, for me... I don't understand what we did right to deserve your charity and kindness.  God has blessed me with an amazing family at home.  And, I have always felt that all of you are my family at work, and that my clients are part of my family as well.  How on earth did I get so lucky to have so many wonderful people surround me in all aspects of my life?  I really don't want to take away from what you've done for us, but in all modesty, I'm sure there was many more deserving families that are struggling more than us.  BUT, that's all because of this unworthiness feeling.  I have so much gratitude and love for you, and I thank you with all that I am.

I hope you know how much this will help us with what we are trying to do to prepare for our future with Nate.  You have taken a burden off our shoulders, and are making this process so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable!  I have wondered how we were going to make this happen without going into debt, and you have answered our prayers.  I promise that we will make everybit of this gift do what it was meant to do, and with every board and every nail, it will have my Double Take family attached to it.  This would not be possible without you.

Thursday was a dream... I still can't believe what you did.  And amazed at how well it was pulled together and that fact that I never had one inkling of a clue.  Either you hid it very well, or I was completely oblivious. Maybe a bit of both.

Maybe, in time I will be able to REALLY show my gratitude and to single out each one of you and honor you.  At this point I know the key players, but I am sure that there are so many more of you that did something extra special to make all this possible.  I hope to find out who you are and hug you until you pop.

For all that you did, for all that you are... I appreciate you.  You are my family and I am blessed to have each of you in my life and I will never, ever, EVER forget what you've done for us.

I love you.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Weather Guesser Guy

Yesterday, our local morning meteorologist was missing from the morning show.  So, of course, I checked Face book and came to find out Mr. Don Harmon was dead.  At the time, nothing was being posted about what happened.  Apparently, news DID get out that he had committed suicide.  But, the family didn't want news getting out to other members of the family, particularly Don's father, through the social media.

It's amazing to me, when something like this happens, that people are so fascinated by the details surrounding the situation.  I'm not saying I'm not one of them.  It's human nature to be curious.  Although, what bothered me about this yesterday, was the rumors I heard.  Whether truth or not, it seems everyone grasps on to the first thing they hear and then relays it to others.  Is it because people are needing closure?  Is it because if people don't understand something they make up their own conclusions?

This is a bit unrelated, but when little Lisa Irwin went missing, this sort of thing happened as well. That bothered me too.  No one knows what happened exactly, but yet everyone had something to say.  Who are WE to judge?  And who are WE to spread our opinions regarding a situation that we don't have any business being in the middle of?  The truth will NEVER be ours to judge.

Don Harmon struggled with depression... that came STRAIGHT from his family.  However, everyone seems to want to know WHY?  Did something happen to make him depressed?  Was he struggling with an addiction?  Had he ALWAYS been fighting depression?  Again, WE the public do not know this.  Yet we hear a rumor and then we feed off it.  This poor family now has to live outside the gossip bubble... with ear plugs.  If they listen to the rumors, they wish they hadn't.  If they don't listen, they never have a chance to set any record straight.

I watched a short video of the morning show talking about the tragedy of Don's worldly departure.  I cried my eyes out.  I felt like I was reliving the tragedy of my friends suicide 8 years ago.  I pray that Don's friends and family make it through the grief train and can look back without tears or regret years from now.  I still have much regret for what happened with Jessica and I don't wish that on anyone.  I know many people have had to deal with a loved one "taking their own life".  I remember pondering on that particular quote and being somewhat angry.  They didn't take their OWN life.  They took their loved one's lives and threw it in the garbage disposal.  I know, that mentally they didn't see that. But that's what they did.  When someone gets cancer and dies, their family can be mad at the cancer or maybe they're mad at God.  If someone dies in a tragic car accident, they channel their anger at the other driver or the car itself, or maybe they're mad at God.  If someone is maliciously murdered, their family is angry at the murderer... or maybe... they're mad at God.

When someone kills themselves... who are you mad at?


And then.... who else do you blame?


It really IS out of our control.

I will pray for Don's friends and family and I will not listen to rumors about it.  I choose to be on the family's side.

Good bye "weather guesser guy"...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So... Okay.  Here's what is going through my mind and soul right now.

A few months ago, the director of Nate's school let us in on an opportunity for this handicap accessible bathroom giveaway that Fox 4 Love Fund and this construction company are doing.  Your family has to be nominated by a "certified youth professional".  We have been crossing our fingers because this is part of the addition/remodel that we started this last June.  We are to the point of almost no money leftover to comfortably do the bathroom without putting it on credit.  Well, yesterday they posted pictures of a few of the nominated families.  I browsed through them, and the more I read about these kids and their families, the more I realized that they all need it more than us.

I'm so torn, because this is something that would be AMAZING for us... but we are PREPARING for what life is going to come to.  We are ahead of the game.  These other families have struggled for years.  My heart and soul is slowly coming to a scream of "Please let someone else receive this!"  But of course, another big part is saying "WE need this!"

I have a friend who desperately wanted to nominate us for extreme home makeover on ABC.  She thinks we are just SO deserving.  I appreciate that and felt honored, but the same part of me that wants another family to receive this bathroom felt that there are MANY other families whose life situations need that more than us.

We have a nice, warm, little home.  It's NOT falling down around us.  We have no health hazards because of our home, no risk of injury.  Craig and I both have jobs that are, thankfully, not in jeopardy of lay offs.  We don't make tons of money, but we get by without too much trouble.  We have cars that are paid for and have no chronic mechanical issues (as of now).  Nate is, for the most part, healthy.  Everything we go through with Nate is due to his illness 3 1/2 years ago.  But, he's not life threatening in the health department.  Thank God.

So, I know we will make this bathroom and remodel happen.  With or without help.  It's too bad that EVERYONE who needs this can't have it given to them...  I'm really struggling in my heart because I know we need it and it would help out so much.  It would give us the opportunity to spend this money we are saving for other much needed modifications to the home for little Nate. I do NOT believe we even have a real chance for the giveaway to come our way because the other stories I read are somewhat heartbreaking.  I'm sure their situations out way ours in the "powers that be" choosers of who receives the bathroom.  It kinda makes me sad.  We in a way kinda got our hopes up, but I really do feel like someone else needs this more than we do.  Darn it...